It’s a New Year! And the good news is that it really will feel like a new year. While the intensity will not exactly abate, it will evolve and lighten. There will be high highs--April is looking like a luscious wet fantasia, and a key theme of the first half of the year is the return of things that have been in short supply, like faith, imagination, and a sense of possibility! And with the Saturn-Uranus square featuring prominently in the second half of the year and eclipses moving to the Taurus-Scorpio axis… big, enduring changes to the areas of our lives that don’t take easily to change are even more in play than they were last year, if that’s possible.
If you want things to go back to normal or be easy, well, you can’t always get what you want! But in 2022 we will get what we need. Changing the parts of our lives where we are the most stubborn, defensive, and brittle is hard, and it often goes poorly. Even though we’ve been talking about these changes for a year, and some of us are taking full advantage of this moment and are making steady, incremental progress toward a previously unimaginable tomorrow… There are others who are understandably experiencing a crisis of imagination or are in a bit of denial and desperately trying to hold together an artifact that last made sense in 2019. It can be hard to see how destructive that denial is! It feels so safe, but the old way is already so dry and brittle. When it gets squeezed tighter and tighter, it can only crumble, or worse, shatter.
Astrology can’t make this kind of change less uncomfortable, but we can notice that there are aspects of the year’s astrology that could help make it less destructive, and less of a grind. For starters, Jupiter, the planet of luck and abundance, is in a place where it can do genuinely lucky and abundant things for the first half of the year! Jupiter in Pisces also speaks specifically to qualities that we need to make a difficult change, like the faith that we can do it, and the ability to dream of an alternative! And of course, we still live in interesting times. This six months of hope and levity is being paired with Pluto, the planet that loves Nietzsche and whose mantra is definitely “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” repeatedly telling all of us that we need to
In these coming good times when we are overflowing with faith and imagining the possibilities, there will be regular strong doses of Plutonian honesty–the unbearable pain of recognizing that the problem is you; jealousy, betrayals, and obsessions; power plays; overwhelming grief; and game-changing disclosures. Yes, yes, I am still on subject. We are talking about the astrology that helps us accept that big, impossible change. What does everything always coming back to Pluto have to do with that? Well, sometimes the places where we are rigid, ideological, or stubborn are the places we are trying to protect. And the Plutonian lesson I keep coming back to over and over again in my own life is that I protect myself way too much. I am not suggesting that everybody needs to learn my lesson. But that idea that some of us will need to hit rock bottom or otherwise get that death grip on the past beaten out of us is the foundation of AA, as well as many other forms of spiritual and martial arts training, for a reason.
There’s one more opportunity here. Pluto is a good way to talk about the circumstances in your life that will absolutely force you to grow or collapse. And it’s also a good symbol of the way the personal is political--or how small things can get very big, and vice versa. This might come in handy because we each have a little part of our lives that is all about grief, loss, secrets, or trauma, and we are also in a moment of substantial collective pain. Pandemic, obviously! And add to that the fact that we are enduring a public health crisis because capitalism doesn’t care about care. More people than not endure a harmful daily level of structural oppression. Corporations gaslight many of us into thinking that working for them is what gives our lives meaning. I could go on! And this kind of abuse does not affect every single one of us, but it regularly harms enough of us that our social media feeds are overflowing with trauma culture--the kind of bad judgment, canceling, pleading for unconditional love from strangers, and rage that one would expect from a person who is struggling with complex post traumatic stress disorder. Except that it is pretty much normalized because so many people are doing it.
If we take radical responsibility for our own pain, and choose to grow instead of collapse, would this change the way we process pain collectively?
January is a surprisingly good microcosm of the first many months, so let’s keep this big picture in mind as we look at the highlights!
January 2, 2022 New Moon in Capricorn
All New Moons are the beginning of a story, and this New Moon in Capricorn is hanging out with both a retrograde Venus and a soon-to-be retrograde Mercury, which are both sitting right on powerful Pluto. It also features a helpful, flowing connection to freedom-seeking Uranus. Perhaps this New Moon wants us to imagine that all the deep lessons we’ve been learning about how much power we have even when we feel powerless are a key that unlocks greater freedom or authenticity, or perhaps helps some of us break through a structural or institutional barrier.
January 14--February 3, 2022 Mercury Retrograde
Mercury, the planet that symbolizes the mind, communication, transactions, travel, and games, appears to stop and move backward for about three weeks three times a year. Astrologers generally tell us to expect delays, do-overs, and screwups, and all that is true. But Mercury retrograde can also express itself as a deep period of collaboration, a deal that takes a long time to get right, or any other deliberative or creative process that isn’t straightforward. This Mercury retrograde begins in Aquarius, which we could imagine as the ideal world you are trying to create, and it moves back into Capricorn, which we could call the old world that ended when everybody went into lockdown “for two weeks” almost two years ago. It is entirely possible that this retrograde will feature some sort of reconciliation between the post-pandemic world we keep imagining but that never quite gets here, and the Beforetime. And because the key feature of this Mercury retrograde is a long, slow conjunction with Pluto that pretty much takes over the last week of the month, the need to communicate about difficult themes like grief, loss, power dynamics, and decisions around whether to collapse or grow in the face of real or perceived pain and abuse is likely to feature prominently. Asking yourself before you open your mouth whether you are simply transmitting your pain or taking responsibility for it, thereby transforming it into love and wisdom, is a good idea.
January 17, 2002 Full Moon in Cancer
All Full Moons are a release or a culmination, and this Full Moon in Cancer is like a lot of Full Moons these days. Closely engaged, once again, with Pluto, the planet that signifies trauma, pain, and the transformative growth that comes from taking full responsibility for these experiences, this Full Moon is asking us to do things like let go of old pain, or leave behind our reflexive desire to act out our feelings of victimization and powerlessness. The Moon is powerful, protective, and all up in its feels in Cancer, and is acting as a totally fresh perspective on whatever the Venus Retrograde in Capricorn has been revealing. Some of us might experience this as a flash of insight about a deep growth process, or as a light shining momentarily on the shadowy depths. But I must caution that there is nothing in the sky that says we will all automatically get it and grow and change and learn! The opportunity is there, but each of us has to choose to take it. And not just once! This choice keeps presenting itself over and over again. Some of us will find ourselves not growing, instead choosing to lash out viciously at a perceived attack, or feel outrageously threatened and withdraw. Others will find themselves in an argument and not even remember how they got there because they are completely dissociated. Some will throw themselves into management mode and go crazy trying to make everybody else feel better… never mind that nobody asked them to do that. If any of those reflexive responses come out, just remember that it’s never too late to choose to stop and try something else.
January 19, 2022 Nodes Enter Taurus-Scorpio
The Nodes of the Moon are the points in space where eclipses happen. They stay in each sign for about a year and a half. On this day, they move from the Gemini-Sagittarius axis, and start adding to the pressure our Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius friends have been feeling for some time. This is a lot of change coming to the fixed signs… which are already under a lot of pressure and are called fixed for a reason! These are the places in our lives where we are most likely to be a little traditional, habitual, stubborn, or ideological. A bunch of eclipses here just put a third exclamation point on the end of this sentence:
The things that are hardest to change are going to change, whether we like it or not!!!
January 29, 2022 Venus Stations Direct | Mercury Retrograde Conjunct Pluto
The month ends with an interesting little passing of the baton. Remember how Venus sat on top of Pluto for the entire second half of December? Now it is Mercury’s turn, just as Venus finishes moving backward and turns toward her third and final conjunction with Pluto in early March.
See what I mean about everything always coming back to Pluto? Get used to it. This is the vibe until June.
On a practical level, during the last week of the month folks might feel a lot of pressure to speak uncomfortable truths, process emotions, and maybe even get into some unsavory power plays. Good thing we’ve been trying to get comfortable with the parts of ourselves that we hate so much that we can’t even see them since September of last year! At the risk of sounding like a broken record, take a moment to ask yourself whether you’re reflexively giving your pain to somebody else, or taking responsibility for it so that you can be more loving before you open your mouth and remember that you can always change your mind if you choose wrong.
Your Sky—Rising Sign Horoscopes
You might feel like you have been struggling with belonging for some time. This might show up as literally being denied access to a group, or as not quite fitting in with how your friends are thinking about things, or as doing a lot of work to connect with audiences and seeing too little payoff. This, in turn, may be driving you to go make money or find self esteem somewhere else, or otherwise radicalize your resources. Finding the right community of support and approaching your sense of worth in a way that puts you in front of the right people is an important and necessary job, and you might feel like you can’t quite imagine how it’s going to work. You might feel like there are only so many ways to make money, or like only certain people are your people… even if they’re not acting like your people. Pay particular attention to regular, deep revelations that are going to keep happening in your career life or public image over the next many months. You might face betrayals, get exposed as something you are not, or forge particularly powerful work relationships. Whatever happens, it will be deep! And if you can tap into the faith you have in yourself and your ability to face the parts of yourself you might not like, you might gain some insight into how to make this larger change that keeps needing to happen… the one that better aligns your professional networks and your finances.
Whether your health or identity is evolving, or you are changing course or becoming radicalized in some way… you are in the process of changing yourself! And while ultimately this change is both inevitable and massively freeing, you might not be 100% on board. Maybe your identity is attached to an ability or skill that is no longer available, or you’re relying on a story about who you are instead of being with who you really are. Another way this might be unfolding is as you resolutely feeling like you must be the same old you, while your career, public image, or an important unpaid role keeps giving you serious reality checks because you are someone else. You could be leveling up to a leadership position or struggling with limitations, or both! But there’s a puzzle here that you are slowly working out. Who are you becoming, how does this differ from who you believe you are, and is the work you are doing in the world serving this new, more authentic expression of you? The challenging news is that a literal betrayal by a teacher, an intense spiritual awakening, or a massive paradigm shift is on the way that could help you see your beliefs about yourself for what they are–beliefs. Beliefs can feel passionate and deeply real, but they define nothing. They are a product of mind. They change. They are less than a tenth as powerful as your actions. The good news is that you really do have a community of support behind you in this quest to be a new you! You can have faith in your friends and the communities you belong to.
Your career or another defining unpaid role is taking center stage in a really good way! Whether this is your job or the most important thing you are doing right now, you are finding faith, inspiration, and a lot of hope in your actions and roles for the first half of the year. Keep your head down, do this work, and let it fill you! Also let it soften a standoff you might be dealing with in your spiritual life. You have perhaps been thinking a lot about how the world works, the law, or what you believe. You might be listening to a specific teacher, taking a class, or simply changing your paradigms. And at the same time have been finding that this structured approach to your beliefs does not quite authentically touch the very heart of you. There might be something in your career or public life that does touch that deepest part of your soul. And at the same time, you are also going to be regularly consumed with grief, deeply touch your family karma, or pay a profound debt or obligation. There is an incredible opportunity to learn from this grieving or indebtedness, and it looks like everything in the Universe is conspiring to let you sit with it. Go there without fear–or at least with the ability to face your fear! It can only deepen your work and help you get to that deep itch at the very deepest part of you that you’re dying to scratch.
You’ve been slowly and steadily processing a significant loss, dealing with family karma, or struggling under a mountain of debt and obligation, and this focus on all the hardest parts of being interdependent has been making you rethink who your friends are, and where you belong. This kind of work should be slow and methodical, but you might be stuck because you believe relationships or obligations should work a certain way. Perhaps you come from an overly traditional family, or are waiting for someone to act the way you think they should, or are holding yourself to an irrational standard of perfection in an ill-fated attempt to control a situation that you cannot and should not control. However this is showing up for you, you have something serious to learn about how relationships really work, whether you are in the right ones, and whether or not you are being vulnerable enough in them. The good news is that you will have multiple opportunities to learn and grow this year, and that all this learning will happen alongside a lot of new freedom to get outside of yourself, whether that comes in the form of travel, higher education, or (re)discovering your spiritual faith. The less amazing news is that your closest relationships are going to be deep and heavy, possibly in troubling ways, for the first half of the year. Keep in mind that no matter what you think is happening to you during this time, that whenever you fight, you are fighting with yourself.
You have been realistically assessing your deepest partnerships in both work and life, and either committing to the hard work of doing these relationships better, or trying to figure out how to say goodbye. This rigorous focus on the quality of your relationships has, in turn, driven you to get out of the career or public roles that you have, and into the work and roles that you truly want, and can be authentic in. These are two of the most important areas of your life, and you might find yourself tensing up in the face of what you know must change, perhaps because you identify a little too much as a loyal, responsible, or stable person. To actually be that reliable and present person you identify as, you need to learn something about work, service, adversity, or what you are capable of enduring. You might be finding that you are putting up with way too much shit; or that you are more selfish and less capable at serving others than you think you are; or that you’re putting effort into the wrong things; or that you are burning yourself out; or that this belief you’re carrying that you have to work harder than everybody else to get what you want is nothing more than a security blanket you dragged out of a less-than-ideal childhood. However it’s unfolding for you, part of your life sucks, is too much of a supporting role for you, or is a grind. And you need to pay attention to the way that sucky part is tempering you. What is it teaching you to let go? There is serious abundance to be had in committing to the right partnerships and sharing the load! But only if you can trust yourself in relationships, and show up vulnerably, with your sleeves rolled up, ready to do the right amounts of the right work.
Listen. Almost every other sign has some impossibly difficult existential homework assignment in neverending preparation for a future that feels like it will never get here. For you, it’s go time. You are most likely either falling very, very deeply in love, or are going out and having a lot of fun in a way that is accruing significant social capital. There’s a tiny chance that you are falling in love with a narcissistic criminal, so if that perked your ears up, talk to a friend you can trust. But it’s far, far more likely that you’re encountering hard lessons or some very vulnerable moments in all this romantic or social activity. You aren’t off the hook entirely–you will have to be fearless about owning your shit when these moments come up! But you really can have faith that these fearless, vulnerable moments will enable positive, long-term life and work partnerships. And you might even find that getting deep and real about fun and/or romance is helping you get out of your own head and relax about an inexorable work problem, or deal with a health limitation that has been challenging for some time.
You have been facing real limitations with your kids, or wanting romance, or struggling with a deep need to find your joy, and this has prompted an itchy little need to get out from under all the obligations in your life that are not authentically yours. This is easier said than done! You might want to have joy in your life but not be able to make time for it. You might have a lot of ideas about what is obligatory, or what it means to be a good parent, partner, or adult child that aren’t true. You might find it hard to release yourself from these inauthentic obligations because you are the creator of them! It’s interesting and helpful, if not fun, that your actual home and family life is going to keep forcing you to get real about what you want and getting your own needs met. A great way to control a situation is by making it all about everybody else, and if you are doing that with your family, home life, or parents… the jig is up. This strategy is going to stop making everything safer and start making everything more explosive and more difficult. By having needs and trusting your family to hear them, you will heal the part of you that generates an overwhelming sense of duty and drains you of your joy. This work you are doing on your joy is slippery! But it is doubly important because it is the only relief in sight. The planet that makes everything abundant will be in your house of hard work. Work will get easier and feel better, and might even become a source of inspiration! But you will have to grind out a whooooole lot of it until late May.
Pressures or restrictions in your home or with your parents have been driving a need for total authenticity in relationships for some time, and that’s not an easy situation to reconcile. You might be finding that your expectations of others are a little rigid, or that your parents are making unfair demands on you or a partner. Or you might be asking for unconditional love that you should have received as a child from an adult partner who loves you, but can’t and shouldn’t love you like you’re a baby now. A deep and difficult communication project, some profound insight into how you’re communicating, or a potentially explosive contact with an extended family member has the potential to shake up what might be feeling like a frustrating stalemate. You are the sign that will most benefit from journaling the first half of the year! Or perhaps a family secret or family history puts some of these limitations into perspective and forces you to rethink what you’re seeing with your parents or in your home. Any healing of your family or sense of foundation can help you take full advantage of all the fun that’s ahead! Dates, silliness with friends, sex, romance, getting pregnant if that is a goal (be careful if not!) and an overall buoyant spirit are yours, and this is going to play nicely into the way you’ve been rethinking your relationships and wanting to be able to show up as yourself in them.
Your struggles are likely external, and grounded in your day to day life. Your calendar might be too packed, or your range of motion might be too restricted, or you might find yourself having to deal with a situation with a sibling or extended family member. And this limitation might be generating a lot of impatience or frustration around your dayjob or the amount of work you need to do, or a need to get very real about whom you serve and why. The thing that has a potential to help is a deep, powerful investigation of your bank account and/or sense of self worth. This might be about deeply healing something in order to unlock the resources you need, or you might get the resources you need and then find that more money does mean more problems. Either way, there is something to be gained in this sustained challenge to level up around money. You could find yourself making better decisions about your schedule, hiring the help you need, or making decisions about your life and schedule that better fit your financial constraints. All of this in turn radically improves your home and family life, which is set up to be truly joyous and fun and the source of inspiration for the whole first half of the year!
Things have been serious for you for a long time. You might have taken a really big hit personally or professionally, or your health might have suffered in the pandemic, and you might be finding that rebuilding is all about the tension between your ability to pay your bills or feel like you’re contributing enough, and your need to enjoy yourself, find new love, be more authentic with your kids, or commit deeply to creative projects… you know, live! There’s a change that needs to happen that will reconcile these two ostensibly conflicting needs that you might find yourself not quite being able to accept. Maybe you need to see yourself as particularly disciplined or tenacious, and can’t quite go off the course enough to let in the new creative or romantic input you need. Maybe you pride yourself on being able to endure things that you should not and don’t have to endure. Or maybe you have become accustomed to suffering and can’t see yourself getting free. The first half of 2022 is going to offer you regular opportunities to grieve what you’ve lost, love yourself, and also take radical responsibility for the painful experiences you’ve endured, so that you don’t reflexively spread the pain. What is going to give you the hope and inspiration to face this existential challenge is going to be all around you, in your extended family, neighborhood, or perhaps in learning new skills. Perhaps your practice for the next many months could be to look for all the beauty and possibility that surrounds you.
Your work and focus continues to be on yourself. You’re doing the hard work to show up, be rigorous and clear about how you define yourself, and make responsible choices. This hard line you’re taking with yourself or your identity might be causing conflicts or misunderstandings or radical changes at home, or with your parents or family. You are the only one who can truly know yourself, and you are likely to have a beautiful, ideal, and clear vision of where you are going! This is great. And it also might make you a little too sure of yourself, or a little susceptible to tipping over into being dogmatic. This could lead you to a lot of spiritual or psychological work, or facing a literal enemy periodically over the next many months. However this shows up for you, it’s there to teach you that you are a lot more mucky and complicated than you wish to be! Lean into this, even if it feels terrible and difficult, especially if it is elusive and shadowy and easy to ignore. Let this experience stoke your empathy for your family or parents. And when you look for abundance, faith, and inspiration, look to what you have. You are likely to walk into 2022 flush with cash, or with lots of other resources, or otherwise feeling secure. Not many people can say that after the last couple of years! Even if you can’t quite grasp the difficult lesson that keeps coming at you, you can do a lot of softening simply by deeply appreciating that you’re safe and sound.
You are on fire the first half of the year! It is likely that you will walk into January physically and emotionally strong, knowing exactly where you’re going, and particularly capable of putting an imaginative plan into action. At the same time, you are likely to be facing very powerful, maybe occasionally messed up, shifts in your friend groups or professional networks. If you have been thinking about a change in your life direction, you will have a powerful opportunity to bravely face any challenges you have in your social networks, and deepen the relationships there that are truly mutual. This continuing assessment of who your friends are and how those relationships can unlock growth and opportunity is going to require all the strength and faith you have–you might find out some things that don’t feel great. But there’s so much potential to not just feel motivated to go do something great, but also build an army of real mutual support, that it’s best to face the downsides. There is also a possibility that this relentless focus on networking, mutual aid, and building a community of support is going to soften the very serious attention you have been paying to your spiritual life, work with institutions that isolate people, or the time you spend alone. You might be approaching a task like prayer or meditation, therapy, or work in criminal justice or a hospital in a way that’s a little too dogmatic or ritualistic. You might learn something about yourself by putting yourself out there and experiencing interdependence that can lighten up this important work.